Earthjustice Announces New Leadership on Climate Change, Coal Pollution, Clean Energy

New leadership advances Earthjustice’s work in securing a clean energy future for the United States


Liz Judge, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2007

Earthjustice is pleased to announce Abigail Dillen as its first Vice President of Climate & Energy, leading the premier nonprofit environmental law organization’s expanding climate and energy work to advance clean energy and cut carbon pollution. Dillen previously served as managing attorney of Earthjustice’s coal program, where she coordinated national litigation strategy on the nation’s largest source of climate change pollution. Staff attorney Shannon Fisk has been named the new managing attorney for the organization’s growing coal program, and environmental attorney Jill Tauber is joining Earthjustice to chair its clean energy practice group.

Based out of Earthjustice’s New York City office, Abigail Dillen will lead the organization’s litigation docket and legal advocacy work on climate change and reducing carbon pollution, identifying strategic opportunities for the expansion of clean energy and bringing down barriers to clean energy nationwide. She will direct Earthjustice’s work to lead the country’s transition away from fossil fuels toward cleaner sources, to improve energy efficiency, and to equip our nation’s electrical grid to deliver clean, safe renewable energy.

Since joining Earthjustice in 2000, Dillen has been the force behind numerous precedent-setting legal victories that have held polluters accountable and cleared the way for clean energy nationally. Among those, Dillen co-counseled litigation requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate first-ever standards to limit the wastewater discharge of toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants; forced the nation’s largest grid operator, PJM, to reevaluate the need for a $2 billion transmission project to transport old, outdated dirty coal energy from the Ohio Valley to East Coast cities; required first-ever soot (PM2.5) limits in an air permit for a proposed new coal plant, ultimately derailing the project; established citizens’ standing to enforce Clean Air Act protections for national parks and wilderness areas; and advanced the fight to stop federal funding of new coal plants. Dillen received her B.A. from Yale University and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated Order of the Coif. She holds bar admissions in Montana, New York, and California.

As the new managing attorney for the coal program, Shannon Fisk leads Earthjustice in pushing the nation to become less dependent on its aging coal fleet, stopping uneconomic investments in dirty power plants, and making way for untapped renewable energy resources and innovation in energy efficiency. Since joining Earthjustice in 2012, Fisk has ramped up the organization’s litigation and advocacy on coal issues in the Midwest, the heart of the U.S. coal industry. He joined Earthjustice after more than 10 years of litigating against coal-fired power plants and on other environmental issues at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Fisk has been a tireless advocate for environmental and public health interests before public utility commissions, state environmental agencies, and courts in proceedings that will determine the Midwest’s energy future. His litigation has secured several coal-plant retirement commitments across the region and beyond. Fisk’s most recent success came in halting American Electric Power’s proposed $940 million retrofit of the Big Sandy coal plant in Kentucky, which the company is now planning to retire in 2015. Fisk graduated from the University of Michigan and received his law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School. He is admitted to the bar in Illinois.

Jill Tauber, incoming chair of the clean energy practice group, is joining Earthjustice from the Southern Environmental Law Center, where she served as a senior attorney, leading the organization’s practice on energy efficiency and public service commission advocacy across the Southeast. Building on her successful work to promote clean energy solutions, Tauber will help expand Earthjustice’s engagement in the forums where the key decisions regarding our energy future are now being made—in public utility commission proceedings, at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and in the courts. Tauber graduated from Cornell University, received her law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School, and holds bar admissions in New York and the District of Columbia.

Earthjustice is committed to breaking down barriers to clean energy, holding dirty energy polluters accountable, and leading a just transition to clean energy nationwide. This new leadership structure positions Earthjustice to more aggressively elevate clean energy issues, to move the United States past antiquated dirty energy sources, and to ensure that utility capacity is replaced by the cleanest possible energy solutions.

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Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.